Lesbianism in Victorian England


In Victorian England, terms such as lesbian and sapphic came into use for female relationships. For some time, the Victorians never seemed to consider criminalising female homosexuality.

Apocryphally, these were also due to be criminalised in the 1885 legislation know as the Labouchere Amendment, until Queen Victoria declared them impossible, whereupon the clause was omitted – a joke that serves to underline a common, and commonly welcomed, ignorance, at a time when lurid, fictionalised lesbianism was often figured as an especially repulsive and seductive French vice.

“The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.” – Rachel Maddow

One of the first people to break the amendment was Oscar Wilde. The judge sentenced him to two years hard labour, although he wished he could punish him even more saying that, “this is the worst case I have ever tried.” A week earlier, the same judge tried a case of child murder.

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On Imagination


“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is.”

– Oscar Wilde

Ideal Female Bodies (iii)


Roaring Twenties (c. 1920s)

Women in the United States were given the right to vote in 1920, and it set the tone for the decade.  Women who had held down jobs during World War I wanted to continue working. Prohibition caused speakeasies to spring up, which, along with the rise of “talkies” and the Charleston, created a flapper-friendly culture. Women favoured an androgynous look, downplaying their waists and wearing bras that flattened their breasts. Beauty in the 1920s was a curveless, boyish body.

“Women have a much better time than men in this world; there are far more things forbidden to them.” ― Oscar Wilde

Golden Age Of Hollywood (c. 1930s – 1950s)

The Golden Age of Hollywood lasted from the 1930s through 1950s. During that time, the Hays Code was in effect, establishing moral parameters regarding what could or could not be said, shown, or implied in film. The code limited the types of roles available to women, creating an idealized version of women that, for the first time, was spread around the world. Movie stars at the time, like Marilyn Monroe, flaunted curvier bodies with slim waists.

“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.” ― Marilyn Monroe

See other: Ideal Female Body Types Throughout History

Ideal Female Bodies (i)


Ancient Egypt (c. 1292 – 1069 B.C.)

Women in ancient Egypt enjoyed many freedoms that would take thousands of years for women to enjoy again. Ancient Egyptian society was sex-positive, and premarital sex was entirely acceptable. Women could own property independently from their husbands, and could initiate divorce from their husbands without shame. Women could even inherit titles, even become Pharaoh.

Art from this era of ancient Egypt tells us that long, braided hair was an important aspect of female beauty. Braids framed a symmetrical face, and women wore thick black kohl around their eyes. Women are shown as slender, with high waists and slim shoulders.

“No one wants to see curvy women.” – Karl Lagerfeld

Ancient Greece (c. 500 – 300 B.C.)

Aristotle called the female form “a deformed male,” ancient Greece was pretty male-centric. The ancient Greeks were more focused on the ideal male physique than women’s, meaning that it was the men of this time period, rather than the women, who had to live up to high standards of physical perfection. This sounds good, except that this meant women were body-shamed for not looking like men.

Nudity was a common part of ancient Greek society, but sculptures and paintings of nude women were often covered. It is thought that the first important female nude sculpture in classical Greece was Aphrodite of Cnidus, who showed that beauty in ancient Greece meant plump and full-figured bodies.

“Girls are like country roads, the best ones have curves.” – internet meme

Han Dynasty (c. 206 B.C. – 220 A.D.)

Chinese society has been patriarchal since ancient times, which as a result minimized women’s roles and rights in society. During the Han Dynasty period of Chinese history, feminine beauty meant delicate, slim bodies with a radiating inner glow. Women were expected to have pale skin, long black hair, red lips, white teeth, and a graceful walk with small feet. Small feet were an aspect of Chinese beauty that would continue for hundreds of years.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde

See other: Ideal Female Body Types Throughout History

French Paradox


The French have a diet in which they consume a comparatively high amount of fat and drink quite a lot of wine; yet, in comparison to the U.S., they have half the rate of heart disease, have a lower obesity rate and live 2.5 years longer.

Traditionally, cardiologists and dieticians have considered the staples of the French cuisine to be the worst possible diet choices for the cardiovascular system. It therefore begs the question: what is this (apparent) French paradox?

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” – Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

Firstly, the French have a culture of actually enjoying food. It has been found that during the day the French spend more time with food than Americans. Taking the time to eat more slowly in a leisurely atmosphere may be part of the reason why people in certain societies such as France have a better digestion.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

Secondly, saturated fat (which contains vitamin A, D and B8) maintains our teeth, bones, gums, hair, skin, liver and kidneys. Scientists universally accept that trans fats – found in almost all fast foods, many bakery products, and margarines – increase the risk of cardiovascular disease through inflammatory processes. But the mantra that saturated fat must be avoided in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has been proved erroneous. In fact, scientific evidence shows that reducing the saturated fat intake has increased cardiovascular risks.

The people with the highest longevity in France live in the Gers region, a Midi-Pyrénées department in the south-west of the country. It is no coincidence that the traditional regional fare is very high in saturated fats: duck fat is used for cooking, often combined with ingredients such as pork, goose, duck, foie gras and cheese.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Thirdly, wine improves cardiovascular health. The average French person consumes 16 gallons of red wine per year. On average, that comes down to quite a small glass of red wine a day. Red wine contains substance called piceatannol which inhibits the formation of new fat cells and prevents them from developing into mature fat cells. The compound blocks insulin’s ability to store fat. In fact, several researches have found that moderate wine drinkers show the lowest accumulation of abdominal fat among all drinkers.

As for the red wines of the Gers region in south-west France, the Madiran, Cahors, Bergerac and Saint-Mont are exceptionally rich in procyanidins, a flavonoid that functions as a saturated fat scraper in the bloodstream.

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” – W.C. Fields

In short, the French paradox is not a paradox at all. There are proven reasons why red wine and food with saturated fat – from avocados to grass fed beef – are good for you. With intelligent habits, everyone can eat the most delicious dishes, taste the most amazing wines and generally indulge in culinary epicurean delights, and still be healthy.

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.” – Erma Bombeck